This One’s For The Editors
Outside of ghostwriting, copyediting has to be one of the most thankless jobs in the writing and publishing industries.
I’ve worked briefly as an editor in the past, and I’ve worked with copyeditors my entire career, and those guys and girls rarely get any love.
To me, copyeditors are the last line of defense.
They’re like the dudes at the top of the castle who swat back all the grunts climbing ladders. Throw that comma splice to the ground! Slice the neck off that split infinitive! Cut the ear off that run on sentence!
Writers, we kinda, sorta get grammar. We know enough about it to get by and fake our way through an article. But the editors are the ones who really get it. They’re not just parroting what their high school English teacher said—they actually know why she said it.
Do we realize how valuable a good editor is? (Remember, none of us are above editing) They make our content shine. They catch all the crap—the typos, the clunky sentences, the unnecessary punctuation, the content holes, the exaggerations, the contradictions.
A good editor catches all those things. When a writer turns in his/her work to a really good editor, their fatty content loses about 15 pounds and transforms into a svelte, polished, work of art. Their content starts as something good and turns into something great…and publishable, hopefully.
Now, believe me, I’m definitely not implying the life of a writer is glamorous. In fact, the life of most writers might rival the life of an editor in terms of obscurity. Many writers peck at the keyboard for hours on end with maybe, at the most, a few hundred people ever seeing their work.
But when a book or a magazine article or a print piece gets published, when the writer finally receives a little love, you’ll see the his name right at the top or on the front cover. If the editor’s lucky, they might (MIGHT) get a mention on the credits page.
That sucks, but it’s also the life of an editor. It’s inherently a behind-the-scenes job. Most editors realize the nature of that role when they take it.
And here’s the thing:
Most of those people out there who read our content might not think about the editor, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Most of our writing would be mediocre, at best, without them. Producing content really is a team effort.
So have you hugged your editor today? Have you simply said “thanks” for catching all those typos and fixing your questionable grammar and identifying all those weird inconsistencies?
There’s nothing worse than being an underappreciated editor.
I edited content for someone for more than two years, never got a “thank you,” and was rarely acknowledged at all. I’ve been there, and I know what it feels like. It sucks.
So whether you work at a job with an editor who sees your stuff, or whether you’ve just got a friend or family member who looks over your work, make sure you say thanks.
Just a little thank you every now and then can go a long way.
So thank you editors. We might write the words, but you make our words so much better.